A California Lutheran University faculty member’s art exhibit exploring the textile industry and labor activism is coming to the Thousand Oaks campus after opening in Vietnam.
“Garment Girl” by adjunct art faculty member Jennifer Vanderpool will be in the Kwan Fong Gallery of Art and Culture from Jan. 18 through Feb. 28. Vanderpool will present a lecture at 4 p.m. Jan. 31 in William Rolland Art Center 213, and she will lead a walk-though of the exhibit at 4 p.m. Feb. 12.
The exhibit interlaces Vanderpool’s own matrilineal family stories of struggle with current labor activism, evoking questions about the global textile industry and the unseen toil of garment workers in sweatshops. Her immigrant grandmother reminisced about working as a cook in a sweatshop in the Allegheny Mountains, and her mother told her stories about sewing shirt collars to pay her college tuition.
“Garment Girl” features photographic prints, textiles and videos of Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles sweatshops and female textile laborers in Hanoi, Vietnam, telling their stories. Vanderpool also conducted interviews with scholars and activists in both locations. The exhibit opened in May at Heritage Space in Hanoi.
A native of the Mahoning Valley in Northeast Ohio, Vanderpool works across mediums to reveal relationships between physical landscapes and the forces that shape them, knitting together narratives about forgotten institutions, people and communities.
A community arts activist, Vanderpool has examined environmental issues and the floriculture industry in past installations. Her exhibits have been displayed in Colombia, Denmark, Ecuador, Hungary, Mexico, Norway, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine and throughout the United States.
Vanderpool has received exhibition funding from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs,Kunstrådet: Danish Arts Council, Kulturrådet: Swedish Arts Council, and Malmö Stad. She received National Endowment for the Arts grants for her community art outreach in Isla Vista and her curatorial work exploring the interconnections between radical art practices and social activism.She has an independent interdisciplinary doctorate in art critical practices from the University of California, Santa Barbara.